Paris Saint-Germain 1-1 AS Monaco
1970 PSG Man Of The Match: Blaise Matuidi
Yet again, Paris Saint-Germain’s failure to kill off a game bit them on the backside as a vibrant AS Monaco side scored an injury time equaliser via 18-year-old Anthony Martial on Sunday night. From being within seconds of closing the gap on leaders Marseille to five points, it ended up being seven come the final whistle. Such fine margins but PSG have no one to blame but themselves. It is the fifth time this season we have taken the lead in a game and not come away with all three points.
You have to credit the club from Monte Carlo who produced their best performance of the season. They came with intent, a desire and they smelt blood at times. Leonardo Jardim’s side looked the fresher, even though they played a day later than us last week in Europe and managed a valiant 0-0 draw in St. Petersburg. A lot of their joy came from the left. Belgian Ferreira Carrassco was very lively and the man behind him Layvin Kurzawa was arguably their best player.
With the exception of Marquinhos who is out for the next few weeks, the team was unchanged from the side that performed heroics against Barca. We failed to live up to those heights as such. We did not play particularly badly, far from it. We dug in deep when we needed to, weathering a few storms Monaco threw our way. We gave as good as we got but the visitors certainly had the best chances. They hit the woodwork via the best move of the match as Joao Moutinho played a delicate cutback into the box for Carrasco who rattled Salvatore Sirigu’s bar. Then there was Gregory Van der Wiel miraculous goal-line clearance to the bemusement of Kurzawa who must have thought he scored. The better chances certainly came their way.
Laurent Blanc should not be criticised for this result. He made a shrewd change at half-time that made us more dynamic for the remaining 45-minutes. Marco Verratti picked up a booking and an apparent knock so the coach replaced him with Jean-Christophe Bahebeck. The young Frenchman put in a shift. It was his intelligent play which gave us the lead by playing a delicious ball across goal for Lucas Moura to slot home at the far post. Lucas paid a compliment to his teammate after the game by saying JCB has an abundance of qualities and was decisive in the goal. Lucas’ deserved it too, yet again he and Javier Pastore were the catalysts for us in attack. They set the tone, Bahebeck added to it and we eventually got the lead.
But having worked so hard for it, we should have capitalised. With 15 minutes to go Blanc brought on Yohan Cabaye for Pastore which in hindsight was probably an error. I can see why he did it to shore up the midfield but that just let us fall back into our shell. Pastore along with Lucas was our best outlet.
That does not become a consequence of the equaliser though. A mixture of panic and misfortune in the penalty area resulted in the ball falling at the feet of young Martial to net his first goal of the season. Still, we should have dealt with it and in the end we are left to rue what might have been.
We are still unbeaten, up to third. Marseille’s form cannot be scoffed at, they have been fantastic. The lead they have over us is a big one. Even if it is only October that is some ground to make up. We must perform better domestically and not just for the big European nights.
The international break has come at a right time. Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic will hopefully be back for the game away to Lens a week on Friday. That will give us a boost especially as Edinson Cavani is lacking on confidence as the main striker and Marquinhos is out for at least a month.